I’ve noticed that, when I write about CX or speak with other CX professionals, I often tend to append my anecdotes about my own experiences with something like, “Well, now, this wasn’t a huge deal, but…” or, “Of course, it’s not the end of the world, but…” I see many other CX leaders do the same thing. I’ve written before about how CXers can be the best and the worst Customers because, while we’re sympathetic to those with whom we interact, being in the business we’re also pretty demanding from those who should know better; we recognize and call missteps out when we see them.
Now, while I think some part behind the minimizing of our negative interactions is simply that sympathy at play, some is undoubtedly a bit of self-preservation: That could just as easily be me or my organization, making those mistakes or falling short in these small ways. While dentists, for example, have a keen eye to identify good and bad work by their professional compatriots, they’re also aware of what’s easy and what’s hard to do. Shoddy work done under the former conditions is sloppy and inexcusable, but in the latter is at least understandable. There are parallel judgments to be made in every profession, and CX is no exception.
But then again, there’s something unique about Customer Experience as a discipline and profession that also seems to lend itself to those otherwise seemingly minor details: Isn’t it often precisely those small things that make the difference in the first place? When it comes to providing positive CX, little things tend to be the differentiators between a good interaction and a bad one. Similarly, not doing a small thing that anybody might expect from you, based on what you say you’re all about (your Brand Promise) is going to stick out and bring into question your dedication to your core principles in the first place.
When a brand goes out of its way to take care of a little detail, we’re more likely to notice; especially when its competitors don’t make that effort. And I’m not talking specifically about luxury or top-of-the-line service and products. It’s easy to identify ways in which the “Ladies and Gentlemen” of Ritz-Carlton take special care to ensure all those little things are addressed for the “Ladies and Gentlemen” they serve as Customers. Those small details, stacked upon the shoulders of a huge empire built on going above-and-beyond are basically icing on the cake. But even brands who promise economy pricing tend to edge each other out by mere pennies. People looking for a bargain in gasoline will likely cross the street to fill up even if only to save one or two cents per gallon. In any of those small ways that you come through for your Customers, if it’s aligned with your Brand Promise and done deliberately to promote that promise, it can be seen as a gesture that’s part of a much larger strategy.
Likewise, diving catches and saving the day can be huge displays of moving heaven and earth to come through on behalf of your Customers. Or it can simply be a collection of those small things that, given you’re sincerely and seriously dedicated to your Brand Promise, are in fact no-brainers. Naturally, if a cable service provider prides itself in being transparent and open, their tech will give you a call and let you know he’s going to be late, even if it’s only by a couple of minutes. If, on the other hand, their Brand Promise is to always make it on time no matter what, in lieu of that call, the tech will skip his lunch in order to make it to your place on time. The first guy isn’t the most considerate and professional person in the world simply for having given you a heads-up, and the second one isn’t going to starve by postponing his lunch. In reality, neither of those good “little things” is earth-shattering. But either is duck soup if it represents a culture of dedication to the respective Brand Promise.
The interesting thing is that, as with the example of the cable tech who skips his lunch, most of the time, these small gestures are invisible to the Customer in the first place. And that makes them even more meaningful: If yours is a culture truly dedicated to your Customers and centered on a CX strategy aligned with your Brand Promise, you’ll have built mechanisms and practices around reflexively knowing the right thing (even a little thing) to do in any situation. In that case, all your team members constantly and consistently are seemingly going out of their way to make sure those little things are done, ensuring outstanding CX. Little things, after all, add up.
So ask yourself: Do you go “above and beyond” trying to blow the minds of your Customers? Or are you simply and straightforwardly dedicated to your Brand Promise in such a way that that dedication shows up, even in the little things your team members do every day?